Wesley Kew

Child Therapy and Play Therapy

Play therapy is based on a number of assumptions, the most important being that play is to children what language is to adults, and that children are able to express themselves more freely using play. This facilitates them to reveal their inner world in a safe and relaxed way.

Play can be used as an assessment tool but its greatest value lies in its importance in therapy as this offers opportunities for emotional growth and can reduce frightening and traumatic events by relieving anxiety and tension.

Through play, children are able to learn about the world and relationships as play provides an opportunity for reality testing, exploring emotions and finding one’s place in the family as well as the world

Our practice has a well-equipped play therapy room with a wide range of toys, including a big selection of miniature toys for play in the sandtray, a puppet theatre, doll’s house and art therapy materials.

The process usually begins with an interview with both parents, if possible or appropriate, to find out about the presenting problems and to obtain a social and personal history of the child.

This provides me with details about the child’s family and whether there have been significant changes or losses.

It is also important to find out about the child’s developmental and medical history.

Sessions are then set up to best suite all stakeholders. The first session is focused on introducing the child to the play therapy room and parents are encouraged to wait in the waiting-room, which is situated a few steps away from the play therapy room.


Couples Therapy

Marriage (or a committed relationship) is not a static state between two unchanging people but is instead a psychological and spiritual journey that needs to grow as the relationship develops.

Conflict in a relationship is healthy, but its potential for growth is dependent on the couple’s capacity to deal with conflict in in ways which take into account their individual and shared internal worlds.

The therapeutic goal of couples therapy is to increase the clients’ insight into the unconscious motives that influence the nature of their personal relationships.

In psychoanalytic psychotherapy it is believed that there are important unconscious forces in the person’s emotional life, usually stemming from childhood, that remain hidden and which may emerge in certain situations, relationships or life events.

As couples therapy develops, puzzling aspects of your relationship begin to make sense to you, and you have a greater sense of control.

You accept the fact that, in order to understand each other, you have to develop clear channels of communication.

You learn to value your partner’s needs and wishes as highly as you value your own as you both learn new ways to satisfy your basic needs and desires.

And finally, you find within yourself strengths and abilities you may have been lacking as your confidence grows.


Teenagers & Adolescence Therapy

Teenagers & Adolescence Therapy

Understanding adolescents is at its simplest a colossal challenge; moreover, the teenager/adolescent who is ill or suffering from psychological distress is an even greater conundrum.

Teenagers and adolescents are sensitive about their ‘image’, especially in relation to their peers. So much so they often put themselves at emotional risk rather than confess that they need help.

Additionally, their opinions about ‘talking to psychotherapies or a shrink’ have been strongly influences by Hollywood and peer feedback.

Added to this teenagers and adolescents often think that therapy is only for serious ‘mental cases’.

It has been highlighted that the discrepancies between adolescent’s expectations, the expectations of society and the commercial images projected by the media are a great source of confusion in today’s teenagers and adolescents.

Moreover, these expectations and pressures to conform may not be congruent with their internally held sense of self.

Thus, just like adults, teenagers and adolescents can greatly benefit from therapy, as many teenagers need help dealing with various day-to-day issues like:

◾School stress
◾Substance abuse
◾The loss of a relationships
◾Peer pressure
◾Illness or metal disorders
◾Working through their feelings about family or social issues like:

◾Moving to new area
◾Serious illness
◾Becoming sexually active
◾Abuse or neglect
◾Eating disorders

Therapy with teenagers and adolescents focuses on building:

◾Developing self-esteem
◾One perception of the world vs the reality
◾Improving relationships
◾Cope with stress
◾Developing problem-solving skills
◾Understanding how past relationships influences current relationships
◾Developing a strong sense of self and emotional resilience

There are many theories that focus on the developmental phases that children experience.

Recognizing these phases can be instrumental to parents and caregivers in understanding their child’s behavior and developmental needs.

As children grow, they will experience changes in their moods and behaviors. Some of these changes are relatively predictable and, though they may be challenging at times, most are completely normal aspects of child development.

In general, as long as children are behaving in ways that are consistent with their age range, the challenges they experience should not create cause for concern.



Hypnotherapy is a type of complementary therapy that uses hypnosis, which is an altered state of consciousness. Hypnosis is widely promoted as a treatment for various long-term conditions and for breaking certain habits.

During hypnosis I use a soothing, quiet voice to help you go into a state similar to daydreaming.

In this state of deep relaxation your unconscious mind becomes very receptive to the life-changing, solution-focused suggestions we (the patient and therapist) construct.

Naturally, it is essential that the changes intended are exactly what the patient wants; this is discussed in detail between the patient and the hypnotherapist before any hypnosis takes place.

Although hypnosis is not strictly a therapy in itself, the hypnotic trance allows the hypnotherapist to gain access to a person’s subconscious, or unconscious, mind. It is our subconscious that determines much of the way we behave and react to events.

The conscious mind, that part of the brain that we use in the wakened state is relatively small compared with the subconscious part of the mind. The subconscious is like the bulk of an iceberg under the tiny tip (the conscious mind) that floats above the surface.

Our subconscious contains all our past-learnt experiences and memories, all our learnt behavior patterns and reflexes, as well as those inherent survival reflexes that are already present at birth.

The state of hypnosis is essentially a state of deep relaxation and is thus almost universally found to be pleasant.

Hypnotherapy involves the patient entering this state of deep relaxation, during which the mind, particularly the subconscious mind, becomes very open to positive, behavior-changing suggestions that are created together by the patient and therapist.


Couples Therapy

Couples therapy can help couples improve their relationship in many ways.For example, it facilitates couples to:
◾Resolve conflict
◾Learn how to communicate effectively
◾Better understand each other
◾Enhance their emotional connection and
◾Strengthen their bond.

If you’re part of a couple in distress, you may feel that there’s no way out of your troubled relationship. Myths about the low success rates of couples therapy and counseling only make your situation seem worse than it is.

The fact, however, is that couples wait until its to late to enter into therapy.  Its all to often a last resort as opposed to whole-heartedly entering into the therapeutic process before one or both partners have given up hope.

There are some fundamentals that underlie effective couples therapy

1. Changing ones views of the relationship

Throughout the therapeutic process, I attempt to help both partners see the relationship in a more objective manner.

They learn to stop the “blame game” and instead look at what happens to them as a process involving each partner.

2. Modifying dysfunctional behavior

Effective couples therapists attempt to change the way that the partners actually behave with each other.

This means that in addition to helping them improve their interactions, therapists also need to ensure that their clients are not engaging in actions that can cause physical, psychological, or economic harm.JJ

3. Decreasing emotional avoidance

Couples who avoid expressing their private feelings put themselves at greater risk of becoming emotionally distant and hence grow apart. My approach is to facilitate patients to bring out the emotions and thoughts that they fear expressing to the other person.

As an Attachment-based therapist I facilitate partners to feel less afraid of expressing their needs and need for closeness.J

4. Improving communication

Being able to communicate is one of the most fundamental elements of enduring relationships. All effective couple therapies focus on helping the partners to communicate more effectively.

Communication should not be abusive, nor should partners ridicule each other when they do express their true feelings. Couples may, therefore, require “coaching” to learn how to speak to each other, in more supportive and understanding ways.

5. Promoting strengths

Effective couples therapists point out the strengths in the relationship and build resilience particularly as therapy nears a close.

Because so much of couples therapy involves focusing on problem areas, it’s easy to lose sight of the other areas in which couples function effectively.

The point of promoting strengths is to help the couple derive more enjoyment out of their relationship. And remind them of why they initially decided to engage with their partners.

Common obstacles to therapy

Not acknowledging your part …

In order for couples therapy to be effective, both partners must acknowledge how theyUre contributing to the argument or problem, and work on changing their individual behavior.

Wanting the other partner to change …

In couples therapy, the target of change is the relationship, Both partners need to make changes in order to improve the relationship and Both need to change their perceptions and behaviors.

Keeping secrets …

Some partners start couples therapy with secrets Q such as an affair or addiction Q and they intend to keep those secrets. Clients who continue to keep secrets from their spouse while engaging in couples therapy are fooling themselves and their loved ones moreover, they are creating barriers to achieving real change.

Not following through …

Couples may agree on what needs to change in a relationship in order for it to improve, Hansen said. But following through or applying helpful techniques during an argument can be difficult

Not trusting the process …

Couples might enter therapy wanting a quick fix or again wanting the clinician to tell their partner that they need to change, Hansen said. However, to improve your relationship, itUs important for couples to trust the therapy process

Waiting too long …

If you and your partner are struggling, reach out for help while you are both willing to make changes and are invested in the relationship


NLP – Neuro Lingusitic Programming

NLP stands for ‘Neuro-Lingusitic-Programming’ and has been around since the 1970’s.

NLP is frequently known as the “users manual for your mind”. NLP gives us insights into how our thinking patterns can effect every aspect of our lives.

It looks at the way in which we think and process our thoughts (Neuro), the language patterns we use (Linguistic) and our behaviors (Programming) and how these interact and influence our lives as individuals.

Imagine getting a mobile phone without any instructions.

These days mobile phones have a string of features that we do not even use because:

1. We didn’t understand the instructions
2. We didn’t read them
3. We didn’t get any instructions

Well let’s assume for example we didn’t receive any instructions. So we have a phone and we can only figure out how to make a call and how to receive one, however, with a bit of fiddling around we can teach ourselves how to store some numbers in the memory.

But the rest of the features go unused purely because we didn’t know they were there.

Imagine getting into a car for the first time with no instructions. Reckon you would have got far? Not a chance! Probably crash and burn if you even got the thing started! So without an instruction manual we are likely to fail.

Now think of your brain, which is a slightly more complex item. We were born without an instruction manual. The only instructions we received were hearsay, from our parents, teachers and peers thus conditioning us.

There were no written instructions and certainly not a comprehensive set. A bit like having that mobile telephone and only knowing how to make a call.

NLP is a collection of a wide range of methods and models, which create an understanding of thought process and behavior. Understanding these techniques can bring about a positive change in you and others

SO what is NLP? Essentially, NLP is how to use the language of the mind to consistently achieve specific and desired outcomes.


Sports Psychology

It has become common knowledge that there exists a strong link between mind and body. More recently sportsmen and women have begun to embrace the value mental toughness and psychology adds to their performances.

I have been involved with Sports psychology for over five years and myself was a professional athlete.

I have coached various athletes ranging from 12 year olds wanting to improve their performance to athletes representing South Africa.

In many respects South Africa is lagging behind many countries, that have not only embraced the value of sport psychology but have made it a vital part of their conditioning and training programmes.

The value of Mental Training

Research highlights the positive relationship between mental toughness training and optimal performance. High school sports have become increasingly competitive in the last 10+ years. This inevitably brings many added pressures, stresses and expectations to already heavily taxed teenagers timetable.

Moreover, a vast majority of sportsmen and women spend thousands of hours working on their physical capabilities, focusing on specific skills, diets and punishing fitness regimes. However, very few athletes focus on the mental side of their game. It is vital to know that making good decisions under pressure is not due to lack of physical ability. It is purely a “skill” that has not been taught let alone mastered.

It is here that mental coaching adds positively to young athletes skill set. They are giving various psychological skills to not only cope with these added pressures, but Thrive:

•      Goal setting
•      Decision making under pressure
•      Confronting limiting beliefs
•      Awareness of self talk and language use
•      Visualisations and use of imagery
•      Emotional control and Breathing techniques
•      Increased mental toughness
•      Aligning values and behavioural motivation
•      Decreasing stress and anxiety control
•      Building Confidence

Acquiring these skills transcend the sports field, and begin to benefit the student-athlete in academics and everyday life. It is vitally important that one promotes a balanced life style; ultimately producing long-term sustainable behaviour and motivational changes.

Assembling Your Mental Toolkit

In developing your mind through metal training, you want to develop your own personal “mental toolkit” that contains the techniques and strategies you need to strengthen your ‘mental muscle’. Just as you can use equipment to help you improve your physical fitness, there are tools you can use to do the same for your brain.

1.     Focus is one of the most critical mental skills to develop for success in
sports. It’s one of the most common assets of successful athletes, and a
lack of focus is a primary reason for mental errors, mistakes, and the
inability to perform under pressure.

2.     Mental imagery can help you build confidence, manage pressure,
recover from mistakes and poor performance, facilitate recovery
following injury, and prepare for practice and competition.

3.     Your inner voice – your self-talk – and how effective, productive and
positive it is will make or break your performance. Creating and
practicing productive self-talk is important if you want to realize your
athletic potential. The good news is that you can choose which type of
self-talk you engage in.

4.     As a student athlete, you’re constantly working toward specific Goals.
You’re juggling all kinds of responsibilities at the same time -school,
family and friends. I introduce task-management principles that assist
you in accomplishing the goals you’ve set for yourself.

5.     Procrastinating – You wake up with every intention of working on an
important task, assignment or training hard. You are motivated and
ready to take action. And then, suddenly emotional triggers begin to

•      Lets quickly check Facebook
•      I’m so lazy right now, ill do it later
•      Maybe, ill do it after a nap

Its not just a matter of willpower and grit, there are proven psychological principals that we shall put together to anchor beneficial behaviors and trigger more powerfully. “Pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”

Research has shown that following these basic steps yield continued sustainable success and results. Each individual has all the resources they need to achieve that which they dream they can. Mastering these new skills…turns “dreams” into achievable GOALS.

Motivation and success

Although motivation is critical to long-term success, by itself it isnUt enough to make you successful.

Numerous other attributes, including talent, fitness, discipline, knowledge, hard work, a support system, financial resources, and quality coaching are important for success.

Talk to any coach and you’ll hear about players who could have achieved so much more success if only they had been more motivated.

At the same time, these same coaches can name players who are highly motivated but just aren’t talented enough to perform as well as they’d like.


Custody Evaluations

Custody Evaluations I am often asked to clarify what is meant by custody evaluations and how one goes about choosing which parent “gets the child”? Both Questions are simple answered with…“what is in the childs best interest?”

Psychologists undertaking any child custody evaluation must be guided by section 7 of the Children’s Act No 38 of 2005.

The difference between child custody proceedings and child custody evaluations is:

* Child custody proceedings encompass a broad range of issues, including
custody, maintenance, support, visitation, relocation, and termination of
parental rights.

* Child custody evaluations, involving disputes over decision making, care
taking, and access in the wake of marital or other relationship dissolution.

Clinical Psychologists render a valuable service when they provide competent and impartial opinions with direct relevance to the “the child’s best interests” as put forward by section 7 of the Children’s Act No 38 of 2005.

Multiple methods of data gathering enhance the reliability and validity of psychologists’ eventual conclusions, opinions, and recommendations. Unique as well as overlapping aspects of various measures contribute to a fuller picture of each examinee’s abilities, challenges, and preferences. Moreover, results must not be seen in isolation but rather as part of a greater assessment

When an recommendation is provided, the court will expect it to be supportable on the basis of the evaluations conducted. Psychologists seek to avoid relying upon personal biases or unsupported beliefs. Recommendations are based upon articulated assumptions, interpretations, and inferences that are consistent with established professional and scientific standards. Psychologists must remain aware of the arguments on both sides of this issue and are able to articulate the logic of their positions on this issue.


Adult Psychoanalysis

Psychotherapy gives individuals a space to freely and openly express themselves; a space free of judgment or criticism and flooded with unconditional acceptance and respect.

This facilitates individuals to safely confront “stuff” they may have suppressed or denied is potentially adding to difficulties or discomforts experienced.

Psychotherapy is helpful to a person who is finding it more and more difficult to cope with everyday life. (more…)